“I couldn't live a week without a private library
- indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor
before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

Whistling In The Graveyard

Sunday, April 24, 2005

So I went to Charleston yesterday for the three-hour seminar I had to sit through before they’d even consider talking to me about surgery.

We get there at 8:45 AM. It was nice to see that I was one of the thinner people there. Little did I know that would be the best news I would get out of the seminar.

See, the doctor, who I was told did the stomach band surgery I wanted only does the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

See, I’ve never been thin. In all fairness, I’ve never been anything but fat. I was starting to get in shape working at my most recent job, but then I got sick. I lost some weight being on an IV drip for 15 straight days but I lost as much muscle as I did fat. In any case, I’ve put it all back on and then some since I’ve not been able to do any physical activity for the last 3 and a half years.

So I need to get the hernia fixed in order to be active again, but in order to get the hernia fixed I need to lose a bunch of weight.

This is called a ‘Catch 22’. It seems to be the governing rule in my life.

noun {S or U}
An impossible situation where you are prevented from doing one thing until you have done another thing, but you cannot do the other thing until you have done the first thing.

So I was very disappointed to find out that they didn’t do the procedure I’d gone there for them to do, but I stay for the rest of the seminar because, well, I was already there.

Before they do the hernia repair I need to lose a substantial amount of weight. More that I can lose with diet and exercise. This is mainly because I simply can’t exercise. The hernia won’t allow it. Even if it did I couldn’t lose the weight before the hernia becomes critical, so the doctors all want me to have weight loss surgery. Problem is, the one they want me to have is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

The gastric bypass involves cutting a small chunk out of the stomach, approximately the size of your thumb and leaving it attached to your esophagus. This is your new stomach. The rest of your stomach is joined to your intestine so it still puts digestive juices into the intestines but it’ll never see food again.

Now first off, I feel that my intestines have been cut on all I care for them to be cut on. More in fact. So I’m not thrilled at the prospect of having them cut on again, especially when you consider that one in every 200 people that gets the surgery DIES. That’s right, goddamn dead. Of the ones that survive, one in 50 has major complications.

Considering all that I decided to get a far less invasive, less life-altering and only slightly less effective surgery where they put a plastic band around your stomach. The upside is that is for whatever reason it’s causing my body problems they can just take out the band. If the bypass goes bad I could be stuck with that goddamn colostomy bag for the rest of my life.

So according to the surgeon, the gastric bypass will eliminate approximately 85% of your body fat, where the stomach band eliminates only 50%.

Know what? I can live with 50%. 50% is enough to get my hernia fixed so I can get on with my goddamn life.

But all that crap isn’t what discouraged me. No, what discouraged me is the fact that in order to get Medicare to pay for weight loss surgery you have to see a nutritionist and stay on their diet for a period of time so the doctor can document it and if at the end of that time you don’t lose weight you can have your surgery.

I had anticipated that. What I hadn’t anticipated is the period of time the doctor needs to document your diet.

11 months.

Now, for those of you that are new to the story, I’ve already been sick for 40 months. Well at that point I just lost it. There is no way to fully describe the level of depression that hit me. I felt like my heart had been doused in icewater. I could have just laid down and died. Everything I’d been through, all the progress I’d made, all of it was gone. I was looking at another YEAR of waiting. I can’t do that. You might as well fucking shoot me.

But what’s really scary is how quickly I recovered. I went from suicidal to comfortably numb within an hour. That’s not normal. In fact, that’s manic-depressive. I know, I’ve seen it firsthand.

So then I have another minor panic attack when I realize that my sanity is showing outward signs of it’s deterioration, but almost as quickly as it came on I didn’t give a shit anymore.

It’s a fun ride, lemmietellya.

So my one option at this point is to call around to some doctors and find one that’ll tell Medicaid that I need this surgery right now. This shouldn’t be a problem since I really DO need it right now. It’s just more hoops I have to jump through. Will my stomach and my sanity make it through without taking any more damage?

Probably not, but stay tuned, it should at least be interesting…


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